Compiz+AC3 sound+S/PDIF all working


I don’t test much and in deepness usually, but still, some of the things I test are sometimes hard to find a tutorial for on the web. so I test to see how easy it can be set up and if it works. I want to share my experiences, that’s also what a forum is for, right? :stuck_out_tongue:

Hardware: 2 years old Quad Q6600 overclocked, 64-bits architecture, nvidia 8600GT

First, make sure you install the latest nvidia proprietary drivers and that you have a sound card or external ampli capable of decoding AC3/DTS.


  • This is working for a while, but I must admit since the M7 the setup is quite easy and seems to work without flaws, except the Emerald decorator, which sometimes freezes in the Emerald Manager (not sure it’s compiz or opensuse or KDE here).
  • What I do is I do not install the opensuse compiz packages, I go on Packman or COMPIZ-XGL repo and I add all the 0.8.2 packages, resolve a few dependencies and I make sure I also install fusion-icon, to test this little icon in the task bar.
  • Without the fusion-icon, compiz starts at the same time your desktop shows up, the system automatically starts it if you go in Personal Settings>Default Applications>Window Manager and make sure you select “compiz”, the one alone, not the long description, to be your default window manager.
  • It then works like a charm. All effects seem to work and I don’t have any crashes when selecting or unselecting effects, modifiying options, etc. It also seems to be faster than 2yo version I have on opensuse 10.3. Not surprising, though, for Linux (gets faster with time!).
  • With fusion-icon, well this one starts just after your desktop shows (I copied the .desktop file to my autostart folder) and make sure if you have an nvidia card to select INDIRECT RENDERING and not select LOOSE BINDING (or the other way around, can’t remember lol). Do not select both, or the graphics will be slow and sluggish.

Comments: Quite fast, quite smooth, quite easy to install, endless options and features.


  • Now that one, I googled hours 2 years ago, I googled hours with 11.0, I googled hours with 11.1, I googled hours months ago and I googled hours lately and never found a complete and working tutorial. loll Like if no one is using that function. So I was skeptic to make it work when I tried. I remember I could not remember the steps I followed in 10.3 cuz I did so many things and tries here and there. loll I feard the same with 11.2.
  • But since M7, again like Compiz, it’s quite easy! So I will write a tutorial soon, I have written down my steps. :stuck_out_tongue:
  • The trick is to install the right librairies. Once that done, there is a few config to perform in the movie players and it works!
  • Phonon sound management seems to have improved the experience of working with xine backend, alsa and oss. Once your A52 and other libs are installed (will write down which ones in the tutorial), Phonon is smart enough to list your card under an “S/PDIF” line in Personal Settings>Multimedia. When you see that, it means you have half of it ready. You can now play any sound through S/PDIF if you like. As long as your watch on the IEC958 volume slider in KMix. Sometimes you may need to unmute it.
  • Then for AC3/A52, it’s only a matter of libs. If all goes well, then you configure your movie players. The trick is to pay A LOT of attention to the sound effects (volume normalization, equalizer (this is a killer), etc.). Some movie players like SMplayer and VLC will NOT passthrough AC3 if you use some of these options. My tutorial will list them once I write it.
  • And that’s it!!!
  • One thing though, Kaffeine pre1.0-beta does not seem to passthrough AC3 anymore. I have logged a bug for that on KDE bugzilla. Xine, Mplayer, SMplayer and VLC all work like a charm. Totem, may work if you use Totem-Xine, but that package is no longer part of the repo since 11.1, I don’t know why… totem-gstreamer is more complex to have AC3 through S/PDIF.
  • Oh btw, if you want AC3 sound and SPDIF, try not to have both xine and gstreamer has a backend for phonon. I have had problems. But only xine, everything worked.

So both compiz and surround sound can be installed with much less headaches as say 2 years ago and with absolutely NO command line entries (I don’t mind about those, but for most of the people the less command lines the better, so there we are now with those 2 features).

Have fun with 11.2 final release in Nov! lol!